I am copying you into a piece I have done for the UK Beach Managers Forum (UKBMF) on the twists and turns of recent water quality issues in England and Wales. These issues do impact on bathing water quality at some but not all designated bathing water site, all bar a couple of lake and a single new river site, being coastal.
Of the c 21.5k combined sewage overflows in Wales and England a significant proportion don’t discharge to the sea but to rivers, lakes and waterway, of which a good few are important leisure sites and amenities in their own right. For those of you with a bathing water in your patch who might at times have wondered whether they are actually worth all the faff and heartache attached. Be reassured by the recent announcement of a major EA and Ofwat investigation into major failings by most if not all Water Companies, that the faff has been worthwhile but not necessarily for the reasons you might have previously have believed.
It may be a little premature of me but I think it fair to suggest that the only thing really driving improved water standards at many, if not all our coastal bathing waters, was the regulatory need to meet impossible to ignore fortnightly, May to September EA water sampling. Many millions of pounds plus of investment has gone into improving the infrastructure to meet, at the very least, the minimum standards required at bathing waters and now it would seem consequently rather less, if any, elsewhere? Some of the pain of being a designated site can be offset by the knowledge that in all likelihood if you hadn’t been you might be stuck with the appalling low standards of the pre-EU Bathing Water directive days.
I am a tiny bit cross at the moment as you may tell, mainly because I, for one, feel duped. Colleagues have repeatedly said they had done all that they could and any remaining issues were largely down to others and I, like many of you, have taken at face value and publicly defended that position. The evidence circulating already points to the Water Companies cries of “it ain’t us, no longer” at best as being not strictly true. More at: https://ukbeachmanagementforum.wordpress.com/2021/12/02/more-on-cso-discharges-in-england-and-wales/